Recently, I visited an elderly couple who are in their 70s; they complained to me that their 4G dongle cannot be hooked up to their iPad. They confessed that they have been spoilt with the intuitive design of the iPad and would use it for all their online activities. That they are not being able access Internet through their hi-speed 4G dongle (as it is does not have Wi-Fi), on their iPad was, indeed, frustrating to them.
Amazing how this senior couple got so comfortable with a modern gadget so quickly!
On the other end of the spectrum is my two-and-half-year-old niece who switches on her Tablet PC and locates her favorite game, story and nursery rhyme on the Tablet without any help. It didn’t take her long to figure out how the machine works and she is no exception. Practically all toddlers take to these gadgets pretty much the way fish takes to water!
There is something about the design of these gadgets that make them less intimidating and really user-friendly. Apple pioneered the idea of putting the user in the center of its design interface which was subsequently applied to many devices and systems. Despite dealing with huge data and complex features, their focus has been on intuitive design and easy navigation.
How can this be applied to the context of organizational learning or learning technology to be more precise? This can be done by creating a user-friendly Learning Management System in the organization.
What Is a User-Friendly Learning Management System?
Learning Management Systems (LMSs) have evolved considerably over the years. What differentiates the old ones from the new systems, is the focus on the end user. Earlier, LMSs were driven technologically, making it quite complex and unfriendly to the end user. They had to depend on the technical team for every small issue – which could be frustrating to any L & D/ HR manager, Administrator or SME. So, how can this be changed to make navigating through the LMS user-friendly? Here are some ideas.
1. Get the LMS interface designed keeping the user in mind.
When giving instructions to your LMS developer, emphasize the need to put the user experience as the top priority for LMS design. If the default interface does not suit the end-user, insist on modifications such that your users find it easy to go about finding what they are looking for easily. The simple factor that needs to be kept in mind is that the end user gets on to learning with minimum number of clicks after logging on to the LMS. This also means that the dashboard is de-cluttered with only essential and important elements that cater to the needs of the end user.
2. Structure the course catalog and the training catalog carefully so that it is searchable.
Your organization will have its own training structure and levels. The default training catalog provided by the LMS may or may not accurately reflect them. It is important that you get the structure tweaked to reflect that of your organization. Training catalog is a resource that provides access to all the training material hosted on the LMS. Users may search for courses through domain specialization or key words. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that the key words, meta tags and domain names used are known to users and they are likely to use them to locate the course on the LMS.
3. Establish a single point of contact for technical and non-technical issues.
It is important that employees get on to training as soon as possible without any roadblocks. Login issues, password issues and location of right courses can mar the enthusiasm of employees who are already pressurized with their regular jobs. It is needless to stress them further with such avoidable glitches. Therefore, it is important to have a single point of contact for them to get these issues sorted within minimum possible time. It means they don’t get shunted between LMS administrators, managers and IT personnel to get their issues resolved.
User experience management is indeed an important aspect that LMS administrators, L & D managers or those who are involved with LMS implementation should focus as a top priority. It is this user-experience focus that makes a technically complex device such as a Tablet PC or Smartphone very simple to use by baby boomers and Gen Z alike! Don’t you agree?